It hasn’t come easy but the Las Vegas Raiders are up to 3-0 after a 31-28 overtime win over the Miami Dolphins. It was a game they could’ve easily lost after giving up a lead in the fourth quarter. In fact, it’s a game the Raiders would’ve almost certainly lost in each of the last two seasons.
Though it was ugly, the ability to win these close games against good teams is a positive sign. However, there are a lot of kinks to work out. The Raiders made mistakes in all three phases of the game. Quarterback Derek Carr threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, the defense gave up a 4th-and-20 in overtime and kicker Daniel Carlson missed a PAT that may have made overtime unnecessary had he made it. Carr knows that the Raiders are capable of a lot more despite the undefeated record.
“We have a good football team. We have yet to play great on all three phases all together,” Carr said after Sunday’s win. “We haven’t played our best football. Just keep the process going and trying to do whatever it takes to play as long as it takes to win the football game.”
Las Vegas is capable of being a lot better but is still 3-0. If they can continue to improve, the Raiders could actually be one of the best teams in the NFL.
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Jon Gruden Sounds off on Win
There were plenty of opportunities for the Raiders to put the Dolphins away without having to worry about overtime. A big reason why Miami was able to get back into the game was due to Jon Gruden’s conservative playcalling. Instead of putting the team away, the Raiders settled for safe plays that didn’t chew much clock. However, Gruden placed some of the blame on the defense for the game getting close.
“Defensively. It was tough. We gave up 4th and 20 and we missed an extra point,” Gruden said. “We make things awfully difficult sometimes, but it was a good team win.”
The defense played well for most of the game but the offense didn’t do them any favors. Both sides of the ball need improvement.
Are Raiders for Real?
With the win over the Dolphins, the Raiders are the first team in NFL history to win the first three games of a season over three teams that won 10+ games the previous year. This is also the first time the team has been undefeated through three weeks since 2002 – a year that saw the team in the Super Bowl.
While the Raiders have gotten off to hot starts in each of the last two years, things feel different. They’ve beaten three really good teams and are overcoming major mistakes that would’ve buried them in years past. Plus, Carr is playing at an MVP level. As of right now, it certainly looks like the Raiders are for real. Unfortunately for the team, the schedule doesn’t get any easy as they head to Los Angeles to face the Chargers for Monday Night Football.